Not My Father's Son

Not My Father's Son

A Memoir

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In his unique and engaging voice, the acclaimed actor of stage and screen shares the emotional story of his complicated relationship with his father and the deeply buried family secrets that shaped his life and career.
Publisher: New York : Dey Street, an imprint of William Morrow Publishers, ©2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062225061
Characteristics: 294 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

AL_TIEGAN Jul 19, 2017

This book gave me so many feels. I ended up finishing it in less than 24 hours - I just couldn't put it down. What a beautiful story of Alan Cumming confronting his past and his family history at practically the same time and ultimately deciding to accept what was, be happy with the truth, and moving forward to live a happy life knowing that all his experiences made him the person he is - a person he is proud to be.

Aug 29, 2016

Loved this book. What a terrible childhood. So glad that he has truimphed and become a briliant actor/producer/ director/writer.

Aug 10, 2016

Very deeply personal story in relation to his father (who wasn't such a nice fellow/father). The story moved quickly and related to his own personal family drama with his father and also what was going on with his search during the show Who Do You Think You Are. I was very shocked by the revelations about his father.

Aug 07, 2016

Reasonably well written (there is a good chance that this memoir was mostly written by the subject himself), and eloquent on Cumming's own feelings and history. Unfortunately the author does not go the extra mile and think deeply about the feelings and histories of his parents, or other people involved. He may be trying to preserve their privacy, but that horse is out of the barn. The tone is uneven -- Cummings stops everything to discuss the Eurovision Song contest -- but there is drama in this story, and even suspense*. I recommend the audio version, which provides more subtle shades of meaning. Cumming's voice flows like butterscotch. *SPOILERS: I half expected that both the Cumming brothers would turn out not to be related to their father, or some other shocking twist. However, this is only real life.

Jul 18, 2016

I love Alan Cumming and this book was a good read, but I wasn't blown away by it. It's mostly a rundown of his involvement in a TV show called Who Do You Think You Are, and his feelings about that mixed in with flashbacks to his childhood. That set-up felt oddly false, like this memoir had just been slapped together to accompany the show, or to use the info that was discovered there to get more bucks for the bang, so to speak.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

A very personal work from an exceptional actor.

Mar 01, 2016

My reading experience of this book is well expressed in the review by Library Journal (above). What I want to add is the humanity that is expressed in Alan's telling. There is a powerful and sweet unfolding of healing, forgiveness and growth to self-love . The clarity and quality of sharing a personal journey of inquiry is very well presented. I am grateful to him for writing it. Found it a page-turner and loved the reading of it, with gratitude for his persistence on a difficult path and generosity in sharing it.

Dec 31, 2015

A quick and easy read, interesting enough.

Oct 01, 2015

I think that Alan Cumming is a fine actor, but I'm not big on memoirs of actors, good or bad. The writing is pleasant, enough, but the writer's conflict with his Father is just not meaty enough to carry the memoir. In my opinion, needless to say.
Okay for a mindless beach or airplane read.

CRRL_MaryBuck Sep 21, 2015

An abusive father, a loving mother and brother, a mysterious grandfather - and we get to hear how it all shaped Cumming's life in his distinct, fascinating voice. It's as if you met him in a bar and he unburdened himself to you over a couple of beers.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Sonjahv Aug 14, 2015

What had he actually done? He was just a bit strict and prone to losing his temper, wasn't he? He hit me sometimes, but everyone's dad hits them, don't they? He told me I was useless and worthless, but I have proved him wrong, haven't I? I was okay.

Jul 15, 2015

I have often thought that if Americans were more exposed to this wonder (Eurovision Song Contest) there would not only be a huge surge in their understanding of British wit and irony, but they would perhaps be able to appreciate without shame the value of a good old-fashioned tacky pop song.


Add a Summary

Jul 15, 2015

An exploration of this well known actor's past and early family life. As he has a chance to find out more about his genealogy, he also comes to terms with his fractured relationship with a distant father. Brave, funny, fascinating. Really enjoyed it.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top